Her death made a lasting impression on me. Soon after that, my parents sent me away from St. Helens first to Bare Lane near Morecambe — and then to Kendal. Subsequently, my father was sent on ahead of us to South Africa by the Royal Navy — as its Chief Radar Officer (South Atlantic). For the next year, my mother drove a War Ambulance in England — while I was being raised in greater safety first by her father and sister, and later by my father’s mother.
Near Morecambe, I stayed either with my Grandad or with his daughter my Auntie Rita and her sons my Roman Catholic cousins Peter & John & Tony. Grandad had high principles, and often read Thomas á Kempis’s Imitation of Christ. He pioneered tobacco farming under glass in his greenhouses next to the L.M.S. railway line between Bare Lane and Morecambe. Ialsorememberhowheonce carvedmy nameonasmallpumpkin,and howoverthenext weeks both the pumpkin and my name thereon kept on growing bigger. Amazingly, so too did I!